The legitimacy of the armed struggle of the Tamil people

Essay by Reptromiki March 2004

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Quote "Democracy may mean acceding to the rule of the majority,

but democracy also means governments by discussion and

persuasion. It is the belief that the minority of today may

become the majority of tomorrow that ensures the stability

of a functioning democracy. The practice of democracy in

Sri Lanka within the confines of a unitary state served to

perpetuate the oppressive rule of a permanent Sinhala


It was a permanent Sinhala majority, which through a series of

legislative and administrative acts, ranging from

disenfranchisement, and standardisation of University admissions,

to discriminatory language and employment policies, and state

sponsored colonisation of the homelands of the Tamil people,

sough to establish its hegemony over people of Tamil Eelam.

These legislative and administrative acts were reinforced from

time to time with physical attacks on the Tamil people with intent

to terrorise and intimidate them into submission. It was a course

of conduct which led eventually to rise of Tamil militancy in the

mid 1970s with, initially, sporadic acts of violence.

The militancy

was met with wide ranging retaliatory attacks on increasingly

large sections of the Tamil people with intent, once again to

subjugate them. In the late 1970s large numbers of Tamil youths

were detained without trial and tortured under emergency

regulations and later under the Prevention of Terrorism Act

which has been described by the International Commission of

Jurists as a 'blot on the statute book of any civilised country'. In

1980s and thereafter, there were random killings of Tamils by

the state security forces and Tamil hostages were taken by the

state when 'suspects' were not found.

The preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights


"Whereas it is essential if man is not compelled as a

last resort to rebellion against tyranny and

oppression, that human...